Wrestling team splits a pair of matches in Columbia

Brit Wilson remains undefeated at 184 pounds


Jarrett Huff | Northern Star

Then-redshirt sophomore Brit Wilson being announced the winner March 7 after his 8-5 decision win in the 2020 MAC Championship semifinals at the Convocation Center.

James Krause, Sports Editor

DeKALB — The wrestling team split a doubleheader dual in Columbia Saturday, handily defeating the University of Ohio Bobcats 32-6, while dropping its meet with the ranked University of Missouri Tigers 24-12.

The Huskies took care of the lowly Bobcats in their first duel of the day, and held pace early against defending Mid-American Conference Champion Tigers in their second contest before losing five straight matches.

Head Coach Ryan Ludwig said the focus of the team heading into the duals was, well, focus.

“We talked about focus through every second of the match,” Ludwig said. “We’re really focusing on not checking out at all and being dialed in during the matches. Overall, we were pleased. We came out on the attack. We came out with a competitive attitude and fire this weekend and that’s what we were looking for.”

Ranked sixth in the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association Coaches Poll and carrying a 7-0 dual record, the Missouri Tigers carried the biggest matchup for the Huskies so far this season. Ludwig said the 24-12 loss showed what they need to reach their level in time for the MAC Championships in late February. 

“In terms of comparing our duel with them last year versus this year, we talked about being aggressive and being on the attack,” Ludwig said. “We talked about making sure you get in your offense and making sure you score to ultimately win the match. I think moving forward, to close the gap, there’s just small details of execution like finishing our takedowns and working on our escapes.  

Three wrestlers picked up wins in both ends of the doubleheader, including redshirt junior Bryce West who gained a pair of pinfall wins at 133 pounds. 

Junior Brit Wilson remains undefeated at 5-0 with both of his wins at 184 pounds, while redshirt senior heavyweight Max Ihry won a pair of decisions to move to 3-2.


Huskies 32, Bobcats 6

The Huskies’ day started with a dominating performance over the Bobcats, winning eight out of 10 matches.

After first-year Lucian Brink dropped a match by decision at 125 pounds, West quickly picked up the slack with a second period pin of first-year Brayden Littel.

Sophomore Caleb Brooks won a major decision at 141 pounds, and redshirt junior Anthony Cheloni won a decision in his first match of the season.

NIU’s strong back-half of the lineup swept the Bobcats, starting with sophomore Izzak Olejnik winning a 12-0 major decision at 165 pounds over redshirt first-year Sean O’Dwyer.

Junior Mason Kauffman won by decision over junior Logan Stanley in a fashion becoming familiar to him, a low-scoring defensive battle. The 174-pounder averages only 3.5 points in his four straight wins to start the season.

After Wilson picked up a win by 5-3 decision, the Huskies got their second pinfall victory of the dual from junior Will Feldkamp at 197 pounds. Filling in for redshirt sophomore Gage Braun, Feldkamp got his first victory of the season with a pin of Ohio senior Jake Walker in the second period.

Ihry finished the dual with his first of two wins on the day, a 6-1 decision win over sophomore Jacob Pedilla. The Huskies’ record moved to 3-1 while Ohio dropped to 1-5.


Tigers 24, Huskies 12

Through two matches, the Huskies took a lead in the same way they had in their Ohio dual. After Brink dropped a decision, West picked up a pinfall victory over first-year Trey Crawford with only five seconds left in the match

The Tigers won the next five matches, but never secured bonus points from any of those victories as NIU wrestlers held strong defensively.

Intermat’s seventh-ranked 141-pounder, Missouri junior Allan Hart, failed to pick up any near fall points against Brooks needed for a major decision, settling for a 6-0 win.

Cheloni faced junior Brock Mauller, Intermat’s third-ranked 149-pounder, and held his own defensively. Cheloni prevented a late takedown attempt by Mauller to keep the final score 9-3 in a decision.

Sophomore Anthony Gibson suffered his second loss of the day at 157 pounds, this time to Missouri junior Jarrett Jacques in a decision. Gibson, 14-10 last season, sits at 1-4 in his first season in the 157-pound weight class.

Olejnik, last season’s MAC Freshman of the Year, faced the potential Freshman of the Year for this season in Missouri first-year Keegan O’Toole at 165 pounds. O’Toole was too much for Olejnik, needing only two takedowns and an escape to get the 5-1 victory.

Kauffman’s undefeated record fell in double overtime to sophomore Peyton Mocco. Mocco kept Kauffman down in the first overtime, leading Kauffman to allow an escape in the second in hopes of getting a takedown. Mocco held the 174-pounder off for the 2-1 decision win.

First-year Colton Hawks of Missouri gave Wilson his closest match of the year, but the ride-time bonus point got Wilson the 5-4 decision win to snap the Huskies’ cold streak.

Feldkamp was outmatched in his 197 pound contest, suffering a pinfall loss at 1:39 to undefeated Missouri first-year Rocky Elam. The win sealed the dual win for Missouri, but Ihry finished the afternoon off with a win for himself and the Huskies.

NIU now sits at 3-2 in duals this season. The defending MAC Champion Tigers sit at 8-0.

The Huskies now travel to Edwardsville, Illinois for the second time this season for a tripleheader of duals. NIU will face the hosting-Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville, Clarion University and the University at Buffalo. The action is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. CST Saturday.